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Michael Pashby Antiques

An Extremely Fine and Interesting Silver Tobacco Box With a Portrait of King Charles I Made by the Specialist Tobacco Box Maker Edward Cornock in London in 1713, Presumably for Francis Wight


This box was clearly designed as a tribute not just to King Charles I himself from a dedicated royalist but also as a statement of the owner's belief in the divine right of kings. The inscription on the lid in Latin and English states that the aim of the parliamentary forces was the destruction of God in the person of the King, noting that they failed in their aims despite martyring the monarch.

The central portrait of Charles appears to have been adapted from a medal first issued in 1639-itself an adaptation of an earlier medal by the same artist. The artist Nicholas Briot had a fascinating career. Born in France in c.1579, he was appointed chief engraver at the Paris mint between 1606 and 1625 before moving to England in the same year. He was appointed chief engraver at the Royal Mint in 1633, later becoming Master of the Mint in Scotland between 1635 and 1639. He died in 1646 in Oxford.